Yearly Meeting #32 of Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association
Warren Wilson College, Swannanoa, North Carolina
June 21, 2002 – Sixth Day (Friday), 1 pm
After a period of silence Clerk Sharon Annis welcomed Friends and read the following passages:
God said, "Let there be light!" and there was light.
God saw how good the light was
and God separated the light from the darkness.
Rabbi Isaac said,
"The light created by God in the act of Creation
flared from one end of the universe to the other
and was hidden away,
reserved for the righteous in the world that is coming,
as it is written:
'Light is sown for the righteous.'
Then the worlds will be fragrant, and all will be one.
But until the world that is coming arrives,
it is stored and hidden away."
Rabbi Judah responded,
"If the light were completely hidden,
the world would not exist for even a moment!
Rather, it is hidden and sown like a seed
that gives birth to seeds and fruit.
Thereby the world is sustained.
Every single day, a ray of that light shines into the world,
keeping everything alive;
with that ray God feeds the world.
And everywhere that Torah is studied at night
one thread-thin ray appears from that hidden light
and flows down upon those absorbed in her.
Since the first day, the light has never been fully revealed,
but it is vital to the world,
renewing each day the act of Creation."
When powerful light is concealed and clothed in a garment, it is revealed. Though concealed, the light is actually revealed, for were it not concealed, it could not be revealed. This is like wishing to gaze at the dazzling sun. Its dazzle conceals it, for you cannot look at its overwhelming brilliance. Yet when you conceal it — looking at it through screens — you can see and not be harmed. So it is with emanation: by concealing and clothing itself, it reveals itself.
With the appearance of the light, the universe expanded.
With the concealment of the light, the things that exist were created in all their variety.
This is the secret of the act of Creation.
One who understands will understand.
from The Essential Kabbalah: The Heart of Jewish Mysticism
Daniel C. Matt
And from Parker Palmer:
It is not a life that we live,
it is a life that wants to live in us,
It is not a life that we lead,
it is a life that wants to lead us.
It is not a life we create
with our facts and feelings,
It is life as a gift we need only
to open ourselves to receive.
2. Welcome of visitors
The clerk welcomed Vicki Hain-Poorman from Friends World Committee for Consultation; Peg and Nils Pearson, Ellen Helmuth and Jane Berger from Friends General Conference; Steve Olshewsky traveling under a concern about the Peace Tax Fund; and Keith and Judy Kendall from Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs. Errol Hess of Foxfire Meeting was welcomed back from William Penn House in Washington, DC. The clerk extended a special welcome to Friends from a new preparative meeting in Oxford, Mississippi: Ellen Douglas, Ginny Baumann and Kevin Bales.
3. Roll call
Administrative Assistant Mary Calhoun read the roll of monthly meetings and worship groups. The following were represented at the beginning of the first session: Asheville, Atlanta, Berea, Birmingham, Brevard, Celo, Charleston, Chattanooga, Cleveland, Columbia, Cookeville, Crossville, Foxfire, Greenville, Hunstville, Memphis, Nashville, New Moon, Swannanoa Valley, West Knoxville.
A list of yearly meeting attenders is attached as Appendix A. State of the Meeting Reports are attached in Appendix B.
4. Epistle Committee
The clerk asked for volunteers for an Epistle Committee. No volunteers were forthcoming, so this item was carried forward to a future business session.
5. Friends World Committee for Consultation
Rachel Weir, SAYMA representative to the Friends World Committee for Consultation, introduced Vicki Hain-Poorman of the FWCC staff . Vicki works with Wider Quaker Fellowship and also serves as an interpreter for FWCC Section of the Americas Meetings.
Vicki offered to meet with SAYMA Friends who would like to learn more about FWCC. FWCC works to bring Friends together to discover what we share at a deep level and to explore how we can work together. FWCC will be sponsoring the Conference on Friends' Responses to the Growing Dangers of Wars and Terrorism at Guilford College on Martin Luther King weekend in 2003. The hope is to have at least two representatives from each North American yearly meeting. About 50 places will be reserved for young Friends.
Vicki also announced the FWCC Section of the Americas Southeast Regional Gathering October 18-20, 2002 in Atlanta. The theme will be “Friends Peace Testimony As We Practice It Today.”
6. Friends General Conference
Penelope Wright is one of SAYMA's representatives on the Friends General Conference Central Committee. Her report is attached in Appendix D. Also included in Appendix C is an epistle from the FGC Committee for Ministry on Racism. The committee is sponsoring a training in Pittsburgh on Martin Luther King weekend 2003.
7. Site Selection Committee
Larry Ingle presented the following report of the Site Selection Committee:
The SAYMA site committee, after much searching, visiting and telephoning, has been unable to locate a college in the western (or indeed, central) part of the yearly meeting where our annual meeting can take place. I don't believe there is a college in the area that we have overlooked. We are profoundly conscious of the commitment we made in the middle 1990s to meet every two years east of the mountains and then for two years in the west.
We have found two places — Shorter College in Rome, Georgia, and Bryan College, in Dayton, Tennessee — whose facilities are ideally suited for our use, but neither is available to us now and will probably not be in the foreseeable future. Even Hiawasee College in Sweetwater, Tennessee, where we have met in the past but which some Friends have found lacking in the kind of amenities they prefer, has other groups scheduled for the next couple of years.
Hence, we can only recommend that until some other place becomes available we continue to meet at Warren Wilson College. Members of the committee invite concerned Friends in eastern Tennessee, north Georgia and southern Kentucky to keep them informed of possible sites.
Friends asked and Larry answered questions about several specific locations that the committee had investigated.
Friends agreed to return to Warren Wilson College in 2003.
Larry reported that June 5-8, 2003 and June 19-22, 2003 are available at Warren Wilson College. Another group has tentatively reserved the weekend in between.
Friends considered the needs of students who may still be in school or have just finished a semester vs. the problem of scheduling SAYMA close in time to the Friends General Conference Gathering. Friends agreed that the second weekend of June is preferable if it is available. However, if the second weekend is not possible, June 5-8, 2003 is the choice. Friends asked the new Site Selection Committee to work two years in advance at a minimum. In future years, Friends will aim to reserve the second weekend in June. Jess Purvis of Chapel Hill was recorded as standing aside.
A question was raised whether a Friend whose meeting is not a part of SAYMA can be recorded as standing aside. The clerk and another Friend spoke to the history of involvement by youth from meetings outside SAYMA. Many of our monthly meetings make little if any distinction between members and regular attenders. With this practice as precedent, Friends agreed it was appropriate to allow this active participant in our yearly meeting to be recorded as standing aside.
8. Minute of concern on population sustainability
Bob McGahey presented a proposed minute on population sustainability. This minute had been sent back to committee by last yearly meeting. Friends from Celo, Cookeville and Nashville Monthly meetings worked together to rework the minute of concern. The minute includes a set of queries.
Geeta McGahey, clerk of the Faith and Practice Revisions Committee, asked whether the queries included in the population minute were intended to be included among the queries in A Guide to Our Faith and Our Practice. Members of the committee responded that inclusion in Faith and Practice was not assumed but would be something for Friends to consider.
After discussion and a change in the placement of one passage, the following minute was approved.
In accordance with Friends’ testimonies of equality, simplicity and harmony, we recognize the sacredness of all life, the interconnection of all living things, and the balance required to sustain an acceptable quality of life for all inhabitants of our planet. We are committed to providing all children with a safe, loving, nourishing, and habitable world in which to live.
We offer this minute in a spirit of concern that while population stabilization may be less of an issue in our country, other countries, religions and cultures encourage large families. Historically, the large family is the primary caregiver to the elderly and infirm, and the protector of the poor, especially when no social security or government assistance is available. Yet, large families tend to place an even greater burden on the available resources. Special emphasis must be given to measures to reduce poverty, provide security for people as they age and empower women. Literacy, equal social status and the general education of women to broaden their life choices tend to delay childbirth, limit family size and improve the quality of life for them and their families.
Definition of sustainable population
Just as a lifestyle is sustainable only when one spends less than one earns, a population is sustainable only when that population consumes an amount of resources that is less than what is replaceable.
In October 1999, world human population surpassed six billion, having doubled since 1960. At the present rate of growth, it is likely to double again within the new century. As the population increases, resource consumption and environmental impact increase.
Impact on environment
The total requirements of the current human population place an ever-increasing demand on earth’s resources and intensify environmental degradation, which threatens all the creatures of the earth. All consumption affects the earth’s environment. However, those of us living in the most prosperous circumstances have used earth’s resources in disproportionate amounts. Our over-consumption contributes to environmental degradation in excess of our numbers.
While remaining sensitive to the needs and values of all cultures, we acknowledge our responsibility to become informed about world population growth and the concerns it raises.
• Through our leadings and sharing, we will seek knowledgeable, loving, and creative ways of encouraging responsible reproductive activities. These include endorsement of adoption and foster care as an alternative to having children and open support for those who choose not to procreate.
• We recognize that the more prosperous countries have a larger rate of per-capita resource consumption. Our responsibility is to strive toward a simpler and more equitable lifestyle.
• We will work toward a more equitable sharing of the world’s resources and toward systems that provide a social safety net for those in need so that large families are not perceived as vital to the well-being of the group.
• We urge meetings to consider using queries such as those adopted by Baltimore Yearly Meeting as an aid to the clearness for the marriage process, specifically addressing the issue of family size and the consideration of adoption or foster care.
• Finally, we urge our government to renew contributions to the United Nations Fund for Population Activities, a family planning lifeline for couples in poor countries.
Friends Queries and Actions Applicable to Population Sustainability
• How do we as Friends work toward a more equitable sharing of the world's resources?
• What can we do to provide a global social system that will aid those in need?
• When Friends couples marry under the care of the meeting, are the following queries considered in the clearness process, asking couples to discuss them with each other:
• Have you discerned with each other whether you want to have children? If so, how many?
• Have you considered a plan to take responsibility for your family's growth in size?
• Would you consider adoption or foster care for family growth?
• What are the available resources from family, meeting and community for family development?
• How will your family reflect Friends’ testimonies of simplicity, concern for the environment and world population?
• Has your meeting expressed to our government a desire to support the United Nations Fund for Population Activities?
This minute is reprinted in Appendix C.
Friends agreed to refer the queries from the minute on population to the Faith and Practice Revisions Committee.
9. Nominating Committee preliminary report
Nominating Committee Clerk Penelope Wright expressed her appreciation to the faithful members of the Nominating Committee for their service.
The Nominating Committee recommended that the treasurer no longer serve as a member of the Personnel Committee. The treasurer and the Finance Committee will continue to be available for consultation with the Personnel Committee as needed. Friends approved.
The Nominating Committee recommended that SAYMA appointees to wider Quaker organizations be appointed for terms that correspond to the terms requested by the wider Quaker organizations rather than according to SAYMA's annual year. Friends approved.
The Nominating Committee asked whether Friends wish to continue to appoint a representative to William Penn House. A representative was appointed last year for a one-year term with the understanding that SAYMA would review the situation at this yearly meeting. Friends agreed to defer the decision until next year, until a report from this past year's representative can be received.
Penelope presented the following nominations for SAYMA positions:
Position Person Term Ends
Recording Clerk Carol Lamm ‘03
(extending term for 1 year)
SAYF Steering Committee Co-Clerk Dick Houghton ‘04
SAYF Steering Committee Member Sig Christensen ‘04
SAYF Oversight Committee Margaret Farmer ‘04
SAYF Oversight Committee John Potter ‘04
SAYF Oversight Committee Dolph Goldenburg ‘04
Ecological Concerns Network Co-Clerk Susan Carlyle ‘04
Ministry and Nurture Clerk Kathy Burke ‘04
American Friends Service Committee
Southeast Region Office Executive Committee Debra Johnson ‘03
Friends Committee on National Legislation Joyce Johnson Nov. ‘05
Friends Committee on Unity with Nature Kim Carlyle ‘04
Friends General Conference Julia Sibley-Jones ‘05
Friends Peace Team Bob Welch ‘04
Friends World Committee for Consultation Rachel Weir ‘05
Quaker House (Fayetteville, NC) Geoffrey Pratt ‘05
Friends approved these nominations.
The Nominating Committee will continue its work to fill remaining positions.
10. Addendum to Site Selection Committee report.
Larry Ingle reported that after conferring with Warren Wilson College staff, SAYMA is confirmed for June 5-8, 2003. There is a good possibility that SAYMA can have the second weekend of June in 2004, but this cannot be confirmed yet.
11. Preliminary budget presentation
Finance Committee Clerk Chris Berg presented a draft budget and asked that Friends review it before the next business meeting session. The Finance Committee recommended a reduction in the assessment from $55 to $50. The Finance Committee learned from archivist Bettina Wolff that SAYMA records are not being archived at Swarthmore; consequently, the contribution to Swarthmore approved by April Representative Meeting was not included in the draft budget. Chris answered several questions from the floor and invited Friends with further questions to speak with him or treasurer Kendall Ivie before the next day's meeting.
12. Faith and Practice Revisions Committee
Geeta McGahey reported for the Faith and Practice Revisions Committee. The complete report is attached in Appendix C.
The committee is proceeding at a deliberate pace. The committee plans to send proposed changes to monthly meetings for consideration as the committee works through them and also to link proposed changes to A Guide to Our Faith and Our Practice to the SAYMA web site so that Friends can have ready access to them. The committee reminds Friends that proposed changes to Faith and Practice must be recommended by monthly meetings before coming to the committee.
Friends agreed to use SAYMA's web site to post already-approved changes to Faith and Practice so that they will be available as they occur.
The committee recommended that SAYMA name a separate committee to work on a handbook of procedures. A committee of volunteers agreed to develop a proposed charge for a Handbook Committee: Penelope Wright, Jim Hamill, Missy Ivie and Dennis Gregg.
The committee also sought affirmation of its understanding that the committee is in good order when it discerns details about procedures found in Faith and Practice that need to be shifted to the handbook and refers these to the Handbook Committee. Consideration of this recommendation was deferred pending consideration of appointing a Handbook Committee.
13. Presentation of minute of concern regarding Israel and Palestine
Dennis Gregg and Geeta McGahey presented a minute of concern on the situation in the Middle East.
A Friend asked to whom the minute would be sent. Among the responses were that it would be appropriate for SAYMA to send the minute to a specific list of officials. Those who worked on the minute also saw its usefulness as a resource in their work for peace. The language of the minute offers a way to articulate Friends' concerns in many situations.
Friends were asked to consider the proposed minute and its dissemination in preparation for a later yearly meeting session.
Meeting closed with a period of silence.
June 22, 2002 - Seventh Day (Saturday) 9:30 am
After a period of silence, the clerk read traveling minutes for Peg and Nils Pearson from Friends General Conference; for Steve Olshewsky from Live Oaks Friends Meeting, traveling under a concern for Peace Tax Fund legislation; and for Bob Barns from Grass Valley Society of Friends traveling under concerns for Right Sharing of World Resources and the Alternatives to Violence Project.
15. Epistle Committee
The clerk announced that Barbara Esther and John Geary had volunteered to serve on the Epistle Committee. Edie Patrick also volunteered.
16. Southern Appalachian Young Friends
Kathleen Mavournin, Co-Clerk of the Southern Appalachian Young Friends Steering Committee, presented highlights of her report, which is attached in Appendix C. Sixty-two young people attended at least one retreat this year. Young Friends grow individually and grow as a group, and they are a joy. Having an administrative assistant for the first time has made a great difference. A handbook describing the SAYF program is in progress. A SAYF website with schedules, guidelines, information about conscientious objector status and other matters has been created and linked to the SAYMA web site. Thirty-five Young Friends and about half a dozen Friendly Adult Presences are present at SAYMA. Kathleen estimated that 40 adult volunteers have been involved over the course of the past year. A grandmother and a SAYF graduate spoke to how valuable the SAYF program is.
17. Minute of concern regarding Israel and Palestine
Friends expressed much appreciation for the work of Friends and the thoughts expressed in the proposed minute. After a period of laboring in which many questions were raised, the clerk asked Friends to lay the matter aside until later in the meeting. (See minute #31, below.)
18. Nominating Committee
Nominating Committee Clerk Penelope Wright brought forward the name of Tim Lamm as Yearly Meeting Planning Committee clerk. Friends approved. Other positions to be filled on the Yearly Meeting Planning Committee are adult program coordinator, workshop coordinator, worship sharing coordinator, bookstore coordinator, Junior Yearly Meeting coordinator, and co-registrar.
19. Quakers and Racial Justice Conference
Joan MacKenzie from Asheville Monthly Meeting and Gita Larson from Columbia Friends Meeting attended the Quakers and Racial Justice Conference in October 2001 at Pendle Hill. Joan's report is attached in Appendix C. Among other topics, the conference participants noted a lack of interest in racial justice at the monthly meeting level and sought to understand the roots of this lack of interest. They noted that sometimes Friends' tradition supports inequality more than the tradition supports our testimony of equality. Included in the report is a list of action steps that came out of the conference. Gita read the epistle from the conference, which is also attached in Appendix C. The clerk encouraged monthly meetings to invite Joan and Gita to visit them to share the results of the conference.
20. Iraq visit
With the support of SAYMA and Memphis Friends Meeting, Debra Johnson recently traveled to Iraq with the American Friends Service Committee. The group was able to visit in Iraqi homes and with teachers, artists, and others and to learn first hand how the sanctions against Iraq affect ordinary people. The group also met with more than 30 organizations. An epistle and a list of recommendations from the group are attached in Appendix C. Debra encouraged SAYMA monthly meetings to join the Campaign of Conscience, through which she reported AFSC is doing wonderful work on the ground. A current emphasis is water treatment facilities. Adopting the Peace Pledge is another recommendation. It is important to continue to work for an end to sanctions. Depleted uranium is causing health problems and requires investigation. Finally, dialogue and exchange of information is important as the isolation experienced by the Iraqis has impacted medical care and many other fields. The clerk encouraged Friends to invite Debra to their monthly meetings.
21. Ecological Concerns Network energy use survey
Bill Reynolds presented a report based on 130 responses to the Ecological Concerns Network energy use survey. The full report is attached in Appendix C. Areas ripe for improvement include using compact fluorescent light bulbs, more efficient heating, choosing cars with higher gas mileage, buying Energy Star appliances, and drying clothes outdoors or on inside drying racks. Friends do a good job of conserving energy by avoiding yard work and by using human muscle to do much of their yard and garden work. The ECN wants to assist Friends to answer the urgent call in SAYMA's minute on global climate change.
22. Friends Committee on Unity with Nature
Kim Carlyle submitted a report on Friends Committee on Unity with Nature, which is attached in Appendix D.
He reported on Quaker Eco-Witness, a project of Friends Committee on Unity with Nature. QEW is supporting a Quaker intern in Washington and seeks financial support for this project. The group is organizing a conference on ecology and economy at Pendle Hill in spring 2003. They are also focusing on the connections between peacemaking and the environment. They have sent a questionnaire to all U.S. Quaker meetings and churches.
23. Handbook Committee
On behalf of the ad hoc committee appointed to develop a charge for a Handbook Committee, Dennis Gregg presented the following proposed minute:
After consideration by the Faith and Practice Committee, it is recommended that a separate Handbook Committee be established to update and complete the creation of a SAYMA handbook. The handbook is an organizational manual of current practices that functions as a guide to the operation of SAYMA as an organization. It includes such things as job descriptions for all yearly meeting positions, procedures for handling money, and procedures for organizing the yearly meeting gathering. It does not include procedures that affect the spiritual life of the yearly meeting such as procedures for membership or marriage which properly belong in Faith and Practice.
The charge to this new committee is to receive a copy of the existing work that has been done in creating a handbook, to review with current SAYMA officers whether the procedures described accurately reflect current practice, and where there are areas not previously described, to facilitate the completion of these sections.
Friends agreed to appoint an ad hoc Handbook Committee to review the handbook to be appointed by the clerk.
24. Connection between Faith and Practice Revisions Committee and Handbook Committee
Friends returned to the third recommendation of the Faith and Practice Revisions Committee. The committee sought affirmation of its understanding that the committee is in good order when it discerns details about procedures found in Faith and Practice that need to be shifted to the handbook and refers these to the Handbook Committee. Friends approved.
25. Treasurer’s report
Treasurer Kendall Ivie presented the following report:
SAYMA currently has $22,510 in available funds plus $7,760 in dedicated funds. See the Account Balances Report for details.
For the fiscal 2002 year to date, SAYMA has income of $54,932 and expenses of $63,915 leaving a net loss of $8,983. Details of income and expense to date are included in the FY 2003 Proposed Budget.
The Treasurer requests that reimbursement requests be submitted in a timely manner.
The Account Balances Report in included in Appendix C.
In response to questions, the treasurer stated that about $8,000 more in income is expected in this fiscal year. Most expenditures have already been made. The yearly meeting does not currently have liability insurance.
Friends thanked the treasurer for his report and his work.
26. Finance Committee report and budget
Chris Berg presented the following report for the Finance Committee:
I wish to thank the members of the Finance Committee and its liaisons for the work accomplished this year: Peter Reilly, Berea; Dick Houghton, Nashville; Karen Morris, SAYF; Mary Ann Downey, Yearly Meeting Planning Committee. I have benefited from significant support from our SAYMA clerk, the Personnel Committee and its clerk, John Geary, from Penelope Wright and other contributors from several groups and meetings. I would like to offer special appreciation to Kendall Ivie, our treasurer. Penny Wright and I are eager to hear from anyone who wishes a comparable experience as our next treasurer.
The year’s accomplishments include approval of a cost of living allowance for SAYMA staff, and a decision to set a lump sum payment in lieu of health benefits. A recommendation was made to forego formal auditing in favor of a biennial review of the books, normally to coincide with a change in the treasurer. A decision was made to reimburse staff travel to SAYMA functions at the IRS mileage rate. It is recommended to limit the treasurer’s term to four consecutive years.
Our principal recommendation is in the form of the revised budget for Fiscal Year 2003 now being distributed. It includes a reduction in the assessment from $55 to $50 annually per member and regular attender. The rationale is that while SAYMA should carry a financial balance, our resources would be better used if our balance was kept at a lower level. We suggest $10,000 as offering a sufficient margin for contingencies and efficient operation. The $50 recommended assessment gives reasonable assurance that this asset level will be maintained.
Continuing unresolved concerns for the committee include identifying a source of liability insurance for SAYMA, which is increasingly important as we undertake our responsibility as an employer.
Further research is needed to decide whether it is advisable to establish 501(c)(3) charitable status.
Attention is needed to develop guidance for delegates to wider Quaker organizations regarding appropriate expenditures.
The committee also recommends that whenever practicable monthly meetings make estimated quarterly or semiannual payments of the assessment to SAYMA. This would improve our ability to manage financial risk.
The committee reminds Friends that our normal process for deciding upon expenditures is to take recommendations from monthly meetings, program committees of SAYMA, or representatives of wider Quaker organizations. Such recommendations are to be forwarded to the Finance Committee by three weeks prior to the spring representative meeting. The Finance Committee will then submit its budget recommendations to spring representative meeting for seasoning. Our hope is to inform Friends of our recommendations for the upcoming budget prior to gathering for yearly meeting.
Today’s copies of the proposed budget differ from those distributed yesterday by including corrected amounts for the SAYMA directory and A Guide to Our Faith and Our Practice, and including current year expenditures and annotations.
A Friend asked whether the proposed reduction in assessment would lower the balance below the recommended $10,000 cushion. The treasurer responded that although it is not possible to predict which categories will not be fully spent, actual expenses overall tend to run lower than budgeted. Another Friend expressed a concern about the proposed $13,000 deficit and further suggested that a $30,000 cushion would be more appropriate.
The clerk asked that Friends first consider the budget, then consider the recommendation to reduce the assessment. After discussion, Friends accepted the proposed budget.
Friends then considered whether it would be better to maintain the assessment at its current level of $55 and use the funds for donations and increased internal uses or to reduce the assessment to $50 as proposed, thereby allowing monthly meetings greater latitude in the use of their funds. Friends did not reach unity on changing the assessment at this time; thus the assessment stands unchanged at $55.
The approved budget for Fiscal Year 2003 (July 2002-June 2003), which includes income and expenses to date for Fiscal Year 2002, is included in Appendix C.
27. Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs
Keith Kendall, executive secretary, gave a brief history of the Associated Committee of Friends on Indian Affairs and described its current program.
28. Welcome of visitor
The clerk welcomed Joe Volk of the Friends Committee on National Legislation.
June 23, 2002 – First Day (Sunday), 9:30 am
Meeting opened with a period of silence.
30. Handbook Committee
The clerk appointed Jim Hamill of West Knoxville and Missy Ivie of West Knoxville to the ad hoc Handbook Committee. She invited others interested in serving on the Handbook Committee to let her know of their interest.
31. Minute of concern regarding Israel and Palestine
After a period of worship, Friends found themselves in unity with the following minute:
We, the members of the Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association of the Religious Society of Friends, are deeply concerned by events in Palestine and Israel. The Middle East is being dragged to the brink of war by the acts of extremists on all sides. As Friends, we grieve the bloodshed and suffering. We fear the legacy of violence which seems likely to result. We pray for the strength to resist taking sides in this conflict, and to remain focused on being peacemakers. We understand that neither we, nor our government, nor, indeed, the leaders in this conflict, are able to see this situation as clearly as we would wish, or to control it completely, and we hope for patience and compassion on every side until resolution becomes possible. We reject terrorism in all its forms, especially the killing and maiming of people on both sides. We strongly oppose the destruction of the social and economic infrastructure of the Palestinian Territory, the confiscation of Palestinian land and property, the extreme curtailment of freedom of movement for all Palestinians, and the denial of such fundamental human rights as food and medical care to noncombatants.
As Quakers, we believe that there is that of God in all people. We cherish the peoples of Israel and Palestine and the lands in which they live. We believe that violence does nothing but create more violence and will never allow the people of this region to live next to each other in peace and the fullness of human joy. We acknowledge that centuries of conflict, oppression, discrimination, poverty and segregation have led to this violence. Both sides of the conflict as well as many outside interests have caused or increased the violence. With such a weighty history, stopping the fighting and creating peace will be a long and arduous task, but it is imperative that we find ways to do so.
We call upon our government to use all its influence to seek:
An immediate end to all violence and assassinations,
An immediate cessation of all settlement activity,
An end to the occupation,
A return to permanent status negotiations leading to two states living side by side based on the June 4, 1967 borders, with mutually agreed-upon land swaps.
Even in the current climate of mistrust and mutual hostility, we believe that the above goals can be reached in the near future, ending the occupation and the conflict.
We implore our United States government to take a different kind of role in the region: to take the lead in providing international protection for the people in the region, to encourage dialogue, to stop our support of the Israeli occupation and to put pressure on the Israeli government to return land to the Palestinians. We ask our government to take the lead as a signatory of a treaty creating a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean Zone Free of all Weapons of Mass Destruction, including nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons.
Beyond the political responses that we as individuals may choose to make, as Quakers, we will continue to hold all of the people in the area in the Light. We will find ways to support the Quaker Meeting in Ramallah and Ramallah Friends School and all individuals and groups in the region who are seeking peaceful solutions. We will talk with our Jewish, Muslim and Christian friends, relatives and neighbors about this crisis and about our belief that there is a peaceful solution, which, although difficult to achieve, will be better than violence. We will search for "ways that open" which will help lead the world to a time of peace.
This minute is reprinted in Appendix C.
32. Peace and Social Concerns Committee
Representative meeting placed the possibility of establishing a standing Peace and Social Concerns Committee on the agenda of yearly meeting. Four monthly meetings have since recommended the creation of such a committee.
The clerk proposed a charge for a standing Peace and Social Concerns Committee. She reminded Friends that a standing committee needs funds for operation and creating one would have budgetary implications.
A Friend spoke to the importance of cooperation between the Peace and Social Concerns Committee with other SAYMA groups, such as the Ecological Concerns Network. This concern was incorporated into the charge.
Friends authorized the formation of a standing Peace and Social Concerns Committee and approved the following charge:
To serve the yearly meeting, the standing Committee on Peace and Social Concerns will:
1. Provide a support mechanism for seasoning minutes and actions brought to the yearly meeting through contact and work with monthly meetings.
2. Foster communication between monthly meeting Peace and Social Concerns committees regarding the varied activities in our yearly meeting region.
3. Report to representative and yearly meetings.
4. Bring minutes of concern to yearly meeting with recommendations for action and dissemination of approved minutes.
5. Operate as part of the whole by coordination with other committees working within SAYMA.
The clerk and assistant clerk are appointed by the yearly meeting, with membership by volunteers.
The Nominating Committee will seek a clerk and assistant clerk for the Peace and Social Concerns Committee and will bring those names forward perhaps as early as September representative meeting.
33. Minute of concern regarding the death penalty
Friends referred the development of a minute on the death penalty to the newly authorized Peace and Social Concerns Committee.
34. Minute of concern regarding the Peace Tax Fund
On behalf of Atlanta Friends Meeting, Jeremiah Gold-Hopton presented a proposed minute on the Peace Tax Fund. After numerous statements of support, Friends approved the following minute.
The Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association expresses its support of those who are conscientiously opposed to war taxes, in keeping with our more than 350-year religious witness for peace and our historical peace testimony that: “We do utterly deny all outward wars and strife and fightings with outward weapons, for any end or under any pretense whatsoever.” We ask that our elected officials support and work for the Religious Freedom Peace Tax Fund Act (currently HR 1186) as a way of recognizing our deep commitment to peace and social justice. We thank Representative John Lewis for introducing this legislation and ask all U.S. Congressional Representatives to join in co-sponsorship of the bill.
HR 1186 will allow legally defined conscientious objectors to pay 100 percent of their taxes into a separate fund that will be used only for government spending that is not for a military purpose. The level of contribution to this fund will be annually entered into the Congressional Record, and information about the fund will be published in both the tax return form and the instruction booklet. The apportionment powers of Congress will not be restricted while relief of suffering will be granted to tens of thousands otherwise not able to earn above the taxable level of income or otherwise forced to refuse payment of taxes.
This minute is reprinted in Appendix C.
35. Use of minutes
The clerk reminded Friends that minutes of concern need to be carried forward. Susan Penn offered to coordinate the dissemination of the minute on Israel and Palestine.
36. Junior Yearly Meeting
The clerk called on Assistant Clerk John Geary to preside while she raised a concern about Junior Yearly Meeting.
Sharon Annis explained that this year no coordinator was found for Junior Yearly Meeting. She proposed establishing an ad hoc committee to review the religious education program for our youngest Friends. The committee would bring to next yearly meeting a recommendation on how to best serve these Friends, perhaps through the creation of a standing Steering Committee. The ad hoc committee would also coordinate next year's JYM program.
Several Friends spoke to the history of the Junior Yearly Meeting program and the need for nurturing our children through supporting this proposal. Friends approved. Friends who are interested in serving on the Junior Yearly Meeting Committee were asked to speak to the clerk.
37. Junior Yearly Meeting report
Junior Yearly Meeting Friends presented a most entertaining skit, "Caps for Sale," sang this year's favorite song, "I Wish I Were an Oscar Mayer Wiener," and shared their personal highlights. Finally they offered the following epistle of advice to grown-ups.
§ Don’t try so hard to have fun. You don’t have to spend a lot of money. You don’t have to have lots of fancy stuff. Just go in the back yard and play with your kids.
§ Show your emotions. Kids show emotions a lot more than grown ups.
§ Don’t read boring books.
§ Don’t lose your sense of humor.
§ Don’t judge things by how exotic and fancy they are. We should judge things by how fun they are. If you didn’t come into the world to have fun, what did you come into the world for?
§ Don’t spray paint unless it’s for a good cause.
§ Don’t kill something just to have something dead on your scavenger list.
§ Use your resources wisely.
§ Take a day off.
§ Don’t punch anyone.
§ Violence isn’t cool or entertaining.
§ The death penalty is just killing more people.
§ What’s the use of killing more people in Afghanistan than were ever killed in New York?
§ War is pointless because violence just causes more violence.
§ Don’t plan to bomb Memphis because some of us live in Memphis.
§ Try not to waste food.
§ Don’t put your toxic waste in other countries.
§ Don’t incinerate nerve gas — it goes into the air and lands on people (like me).
§ Why the heck are you building nuclear warheads if you say you are not going to use them?
§ Don’t bomb other places because God has a reason for making them.
38. Registrar's report
Co-Registrar Carol Gray reported that 233 Friends were in attendance at this yearly meeting. The registrar's report is attached.
39. Nominating Committee
Nominating Committee Clerk Penelope Wright brought forward the following names:
Position Person Term Ends
Finance Committee Member Charles Schade ‘04
Co-Registrar Missy Ivie ‘04
Liaison/Local Arrangements Bob Welch ‘03
American Friends Service Committee Corporation Free Polazzo ‘04
American Friends Service Committee
Southeast Region Office Executive Committee Pam Beziat ‘03
Friends for Lesbian and Gay Concerns Annie Black ‘04
(shared position) Dolph Goldenburg ‘04
The Ministry and Nurture Committee has offered to take up the responsibility of coordinating worship sharing groups for yearly meeting. Bob McGahey will serve as contact.
Friends approved these nominations. The full slate approved throughout the course of yearly meeting is included in Appendix C.
The Nominating Committee will work between now and September representative meeting to find Friends to serve in the following positions:
Adult Program Coordinator
Junior Yearly Meeting Coordinator
Liaison/Local Arrangements (one or two more)
Site Selection Committee
Peace and Social Concerns Committee Clerk
Peace and Social Concerns Committee Assistant Clerk
40. Southern Appalachian Young Friends
Young Friends presented the following report.
August Nurturing Committee Retreat at Rooney Lamm’s house in Berea: One of the major issues discussed was the re-organization and combination of guidelines and expectations to stress their importance. It was decided that, for the sake of consistency and clarity, the presentation of these guidelines should be done by the same two or three Nurturers when at all feasible. Also the Nurturing Committee decided the expectations and guidelines should be presented more seriously so as to allow newcomers to realize their importance.
September Retreat in Chapel Hill: This retreat was canceled due to the concern Friends voiced immediately following the events of September 11.
October Retreat in Chapel Hill: This retreat was originally planned to take place in Penn Center, but because the September retreat was canceled, we congregated in Chapel Hill out of respect for the Chapel Hill planning committee. We held a beautiful sunset worship which concluded with the placement of floating candles in the water.
November Retreat in Asheville: The theme for this retreat was spirituality and sexuality; a thought-provoking panel of speakers shared their experiences with us.
January Retreat in Knoxville: To help us abandon our misconceptions and understand Islam, we visited a mosque and shared our experiences about religion with the Muslim group. We then engaged in several community service projects with their youth.
February Retreat in Atlanta: A large portion of the Meeting for Worship with Concern for Business was devoted to the topic of eldering. Another topic presented was the issue of young Friends leaving during a retreat; much clearness was reached and a revised mission statement was approved.
March Retreat in Asheville: The theme of this retreat was Conscientious Objection, and one of the activities was a CO workshop led by Bill O’Connell. There was also a dance, and much fun was had by all.
April Retreat in Atlanta: This retreat was held at a state park with the theme of simplicity. We slept outside on a freestanding screen porch, had a guided meditation, and a silent hour.
SAYMA: We had a variety of workshops that we chose, as well as workshops about meditation, clear thinking, Quaker process, and inclusiveness. We had a lot of fun, both within SAYF and visiting the wider community. Also, we say thank you, thank you for the beautiful new dorms. So thank you, thank you — for everything.
41. Appreciation for service
The clerk expressed the yearly meeting's appreciation for the work of many Friends in service to the yearly meeting throughout the past year.
42. Young Adult Friends
Young Adult Friends presented the following "YAF 'Pistle" to the tune of "Simple Gifts."
Tis a gift to be at SAYMA,
Tis a gift to be YAF,
Tis a gift to worship-share
And sing and laugh.
And when we find a movie
And some snacks late at night,
We will bond with graduates
And share our inner light.
Sadly, we never did play Wink;
But we had a good time with SAYFers, we think.
We talked about our colleges
And where we’re going next,
And why our lives and futures
Are so . . . darn . . . complex.
Tis a gift to go to worship,
Tis a gift to sleep late;
How we manage both
Is a source of much debate.
We drag ourselves to meals
And we worship with adults,
Though zoning out at business meeting
Makes us feel like dolts.
When old and new friends have been fused,
We’ll bond over memories
And catch the latest news.
Our numbers have risen
And our group is taking flight,
And we trust that in turning
We’ll come round right.
43. Epistle Committee
Barbara Esther presented the epistle drafted by the Epistle Committee. After minor changes, Friends approved the following epistle.
To Friends Everywhere:
We greet you from the lovely campus of Warren Wilson College near the Smoky Mountains of North Carolina where we held the 32nd session of the Southern Appalachian Yearly Meeting and Association (SAYMA). Our theme this year was “Turning, We Come Round Right,” which was reflected in many of our yearly meeting activities.
Yearly meeting was opened on Sixth Month 20, 2002, with song and intergenerational games. Following that, each meeting and worship group gave a brief review of its annual state of the meeting report.
On the next evening we gathered to hear five Friends share their experience of turning and the insights gained in coming round right. Friends were encouraged to pursue their personal spiritual turnings then and throughout the weekend. Both the stories of these Friends and the workshops presented called us to a stronger witness in the face of troubling world events. Worship sharing queries led us inward to examine our own leadings and turnings.
Meeting for Worship for Business labored with and approved a minute on Israel and Palestine. It is hoped that the minute will support those working diligently for peace as well as influence a change in foreign policy. Friends can return to their monthly meetings continuing to explore application of the Quaker Peace Testimony in the Middle East. One Friend has volunteered to create a cover letter for this minute and a list of recipients which will facilitate the dissemination of the leading of our yearly meeting.
We heard reports from many committees and individuals as we considered wise use of our finances and the work of wider Quaker organizations. Results of an ecological survey indicated several areas in which SAYMA Friends can improve. However, it seems we already excel in energy conservation by doing very little yard and garden work.
The yearly meeting was moved by a report from Debra Johnson of her trip to Iraq under the guidance of the American Friends Service Committee (AFSC). This Friend reported that great needs exist in the areas of education, health, and water purification. Friend Johnson pointed out the sharing of the part of the residents of the region regarding long-term devastating effects of the depleted uranium contained in weapons used by the Allies around Basra in Southern Iraq during the Gulf War. She urged Friends to support the lifting of sanctions, to join the Campaign of Conscience and to begin a dialogue to bring the Iraqi people out of their sense of isolation.
Two Friends, Joan MacKenzie and Gita Larsen, reported on the conference at Pendle Hill entitled, “Quakers and Racial Justice.” It is hoped that they will share their experience and what they learned with monthly meetings as Friends grow in sensitivity to practices that can be received as racist or exclusionary.
Once again our teens in Southern Appalachian Young Friends (SAYF) joined adults in workshops, meals, a talent show and other social activities. We were delighted to have several Young Adult Friends in our midst. Our Junior Yearly Meeting children swam, played and enjoyed the turning of the season with the warm showers and sunny weather this summer solstice weekend. The yearly meeting will be forming a committee to nurture and plan for the full experience of our younger Friends.
A new committee on Peace and Social Concerns was approved as a clearinghouse to foster better cooperation and communication to support and season efforts of yearly meeting committees, monthly meetings and worship groups. A minute on the death penalty will be an agenda for this newly formed committee when its members convene. Friends finalized a minute on population sustainability. We also approved a minute supporting HR 1186 which allows for a Peace Tax Fund to be chosen instead of support of the military budget. Friends are reminded that peace on earth is also peace with earth.
Friends of SAYMA are grateful for the many examples of turning round right we can look to in the past and present. We seek the opportunity to continue in this tradition to turn round right as the Spirit leads us.
44. Approval of minutes
Friends approved these minutes throughout the course of the Yearly Meeting, subject to final editing by the clerk and the recording clerk.
Sharon Annis, Clerk Carol Lamm, Recording Clerk
(archive copy signed) (archive copy signed)